A Tale of Two FBA Shipments
by Joanna Lupo, on February 8, 2016
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the age of drop shipping, it was the age of price wars. It was the season of FBA, it was the season of terms and condition changes. It was the spring of winning the Buy Box, it was the winter of accurate box content information.
If you’ve sold via FBA for very long, you’ve likely sent in hundreds or even thousands of shipments to Amazon. Given the volume of units in your inventory, one shipping mishap can yield hours of frustration and needless worry. And with Amazon’s new policy about giving accurate information on all box contents, that frustration can go up exponentially.
But it doesn’t have to be as frustrating as it sounds. Let’s look at two stories. One follows a seller who uses inventory tracking software like RestockPro. The other follows one who doesn’t.
Tale #1: Using RestockPro
Karen logs into RestockPro and on her dashboard is a suggestion to ship 100 units of her new line of bakeware items to the Amazon warehouse. She checks her local inventory and selects the items she wants to send.
RestockPro walks Karen through the entire shipment-building process. She clicks the items she’d like to ship and reviews the shipping plan and list of fulfillment centers she’ll need to ship to. If she’s not ready to process her shipment, she can save to work on another day.
When she’s ready, RestockPro can finalize the shipment and print the item stickers. Any necessary shipment item or quantity updates can be made right in RestockPro. Karen doesn’t need to worry about updating her local inventory quantities, because RestockPro keeps track of all of that seamlessly behind the scenes.
Karen is able to print the shipment labels and upload the contents for each box to Amazon, even providing expiration dates for any perishables. That is great because she knows this is Amazon’s recommended policy for quick-and-accurate receiving on their end. She can track the shipment as it’s received by Amazon and see exactly which items are received, which are outstanding, and what the discrepancy is. If there is something to track down or open a case with Amazon, she can use the notes and tags in RestockPro to keep track of it all.
In this tale, shipping seems like a breeze.
Tale #2: Without RestockPro
Here’s what life looks like on the other side of the channel.
Stan sells specialty items for musicians. He is pretty organized, but prefers to keep things simple, using only his own spreadsheets and the info from Amazon Seller Central.
Stan logs in one day to see that he had a major rush on guitar tuners and he needs to get a big shipment into the Amazon warehouse as soon as possible. He packs the boxes to the brim and attaches what he thinks is the necessary paperwork, and uploads a CSV file to Seller Central.
Stan checks his data two days later, but the guitar tuner numbers haven’t changed and he is nearly out of stock. After doing some research, he sees that the items are still in receiving at Amazon. He opens a ticket, but alas, it appears that the CSV file he uploaded had inaccurate information and didn’t match his box contents, causing major delays in Amazon receiving.
Stan’s tuners quickly go out of stock, and he keeps trying to get things switched around at the warehouse. It takes him the better part of the day to sort out the mess. Meanwhile, he’s losing sales, and the sales ranking for his tuner tanks. The difficulty of unwinding this error reminds him of his favorite Dickens quote: “Keep where you are because, if I should make a mistake, it could never be set right in your lifetime.”
That was the last time Stan tried to handle his restocking with Amazon on his own. His time is too valuable to worry about the increasing number of details to remember, and the expense of a simple mistake is too great.
If you are still trying to handle all of your restocking on your own, remember these two tales. After all, it is a far, far better thing to have the peace of mind that comes with RestockPro. Try your own 21-day trial today.